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Mahi Mahi with Panko

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This Panko Crusted Mahi Mahi recipe is pan fried until golden and topped with a fresh and delicious papaya mango salsa. Serve with steamed rice, Hawaiian potato salad for a taste of the islands at home.

Panko Crusted Mahi Mahi with Papaya Mango salsa on a bed of white rice.

Recipe inspiration

Many, many years ago when I lived on Kauai, there was a restaurant that served a Mahi Mahi with Panko and Hawaiian Potato Salad that I absolutely loved!! Theirs was deep fried to perfection, but I decided to lighten it up a bit.

I decided to pan fry the Mahi Mahi with Panko and top it with with my favorite Papaya Mango Salsa recipe, and I still served it with my favorite Hawaiian Potato Salad.

Panko crusted mahi mahi filet topped with papaya mango salsa

Images updated on June 27, 2022

What is Mahi Mahi?

Mahi-Mahi or common dolphin fish is a surface dwelling fish that is found in tropical and sub-tropical off-shore waters worldwide. Also known as dorado or dolphin, no not those dolphins, they are found most commonly found in the waters around Hawaii, Costa Rica and the Gulf of Mexico.

Mahi-Mahi means “very strong” in Hawaiian. Dorado is the Spanish translation for “golden” which is their color when out of the water. Though referred to as “dolphin fish”, they are not related to dolphins at all.

Mahi Mahi is rich in selenium, niacin, and B vitamins and helps prevent lung inflammation…..and it’s delicious! It also contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. I first tried Mahi Mahi while in Hawaii, and I have been eating it ever since.

What does mahi mahi taste like?

Mahi Mahi has a moderately firm texture with large, moist flakes. It has a mild flavor with lean flesh, almost no fat. The skin is on the thick side, so it should be removed before cooking whenever possible.

What you will need

Ingredients to make panko crusted mahi mahi with papaya mango salsa.
  • Mahi Mahi Filets – skinless is best but in a pinch you can remove the skin, or prepare them and remove the skin while eating.
  • Brown Rice Flour – is the perfect coating for fish and chicken. It does not clump up like all-purpose flour, it is gluten-free, and it is light and crispy.
  • Eggs – to bind the panko bread crumbs to the rice flour. Both regular and gluten-free work perfectly in this recipe.
  • Oil to pan-fry the fish in a large skillet.
  • Fresh Papaya and Mango – are the base of this tropical salsa mixed with diced red onion, cilantro, and lime juice to keep it light and fresh.

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

Panko Crusted Mahi Mahi with Papaya Mango salsa on a bed of white rice.

To make the Papaya Mango Salsa

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Chopped papaya, mango, red onion, cilantro, and chili powder in a mixing bowl.

Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

How to make Mahi Mahi with Panko

If you have ever made Chicken Parmesan, then you know exactly how this works.

Panko crumbs on a large plate, beaten eggs in a bowl, brown rice flour on a large plate.

First coat the fish on both sides with the brown rice flour….

Mahi mahi filet coated in brown rice flour on a large plate.

Then dip in the beaten egg, and dredge in the panko crumbs.

Mahi mahi filet coated in panko crumbs on a large plate.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the panko coated mahi mahi in the pan and cook until thoroughly cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Four panko coated mahi mahi filets frying in oil in a cast iron skillet.

You can bake, broil, deep-fry, grill, or sauté mahi mahi. It tastes amazing no matter how you prepare it.

Crispy fried panko crusted mahi mahi on a bed or white rice topped with papaya mango salsa with two lime wedges for garnish.

Why do I use brown rice flour to coat the fish?

Because it sticks really, really well!! All-purpose flour tends to clump and fall off when fried, brown rice flour stays put and holds the panko bread crumbs on the fish perfectly.

Mango Benefits

Have you tried mangoes and papayas yet? The mango tree grows in the tropics and produces juicy, nutritious fruits that is high in fiber, vitamin A, and Folic Acid. They are beneficial for eye health, lowering cholesterol, clearing skin, alkalizing the whole body, preventing cancer, and boosts the immune system.

Papaya Benefits

Papayas have one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C of any fruit. They are great for skin protection, eye health, preventing heart disease and cancer, and improving digestion.

Tools used to create this meal

You can see the rest of my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets here in my Amazon Affiliate Page. I earn a small commission when you purchase through my links, at no cost to you, so I can keep bringing you more delicious recipes!

Gemini Meal

Geminis are best paired with Aries, Leo, and Libras. They should probably avoid Scorpio, Capricorn, and Sagittarius {solar opposites}. Angelina Jolie is a Gemini and Brad Pitt is a Sagittarius, so opposites definitely attract (or not)! They are both year of the Rabbit {12 years apart}, which has a pretty calm, relaxed temperament.

Raspberry-Thyme Ice Cream and Breakfast Tostadas are also part of this Gemini meal.

More delicious seafood recipes

If you love this recipe, please rate it five stars and help me share on facebook and to help other readers in our community!


Panko Crusted Mahi Mahi with Papaya Mango salsa on a bed of white rice.

Mahi Mahi with Panko and Papaya Mango Salsa

This Panko Crusted Mahi Mahi recipe is pan fried until golden and topped with a fresh and delicious papaya mango salsa. Serve with steamed rice, Hawaiian potato salad for a taste of the islands at home.
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: recipe, fish, fillet, skillet, papaya, mango, panko, Hawaiian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 Servingsd
Calories: 513.81kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson


  • Skillet


For the Papaya Mango Salsa

  • 1 ripe papaya* peeled and diced
  • 1 ripe mango peeled and diced
  • .5 cup diced red onion
  • 0.5 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or any chili powder that you have on hand
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

For the Mahi Mahi

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 4 mahi mahi filets about 24-ounces
  • olive oil for pan frying


To make the Salsa

  • Place all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl, and stir to combine. Cover, and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the fish

  • Place brown rice flour and panko crumbs on two separate large plates. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl.
  • Coat the mahi mahi with the brown rice flour, then dip in the eggs, and dredge through the panko break crumbs.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the mahi mahi and fry until thoroughly cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Place mahi mahi on a plate and spoon salsa over the top.


  • Serve with steamed rice and Hawaiian Potato Salad.
  • If your papaya* is huge, use half. If it is similar in size to the mango, use the whole fruit.
  • Use regular or gluten-free panko bread crumbs.
  • Any flour can be substituted for the brown rice flour, it is personal preference.


Calories: 513.81kcal | Carbohydrates: 60.85g | Protein: 41.62g | Fat: 11.63g | Saturated Fat: 2.19g | Cholesterol: 229.56mg | Sodium: 314.46mg | Potassium: 1175.09mg | Fiber: 5.76g | Sugar: 15.67g | Vitamin A: 1815.15IU | Vitamin C: 68.85mg | Calcium: 103.91mg | Iron: 4.39mg

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  1. This looks delicious, Lisa, and I love that you added papaya to the salsa — yum! I’ve used brown rice flour and it really is great for frying. Pinning!

  2. I am a big fan of wiener schnitzel. So everything coated with bread crubs is so good. I never tryed mahi mahi like you did it, and the coating with mango salsa – lovely.

    1. Yes, I did for 2 years. Princess Cassi was born there. Maybe I will hike the next time I go back. I learned how to scuba dive while I was there, but no hiking. 🙂

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